Media Tracker lists the challenges and achievements of the journalists and media organisations worldwide. Here’s a list of journalism at risk stories in the recent month. We would like to thank international media protection organisation and news outlets for their content.
- Public funds for news organisations in Italy have been completely slashed in the 2019 budget. The act, argue journalists and press freedom organisations in Italy, will silence dissent and the existence of numerous organisations and threaten media pluralism in the country.
Earlier at the centenary of the Parliamentary Press Association, Sergio Mattarella, president of Italy had said that media pluralism was essential for democratic traditions and vowed to protect and promote it. However, the deputy prime minister and leader of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), Luigi Di Maio, has been a constant critic of journalist and independent media, accusing them of polluting the political debate and calling them jackals and whores. In September 2018, he had threatened to pull advertising from state run countries to starve media organisation.
- Members of the French anti-government protest Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vests) are deciding whether to carry on into 2019. The journalist community in France, however, is worried on safety reporting of the event. The protest often resulted in clashes and journalists found themselves vulnerable: not only at the hands of the local police but also violent protester.
In different events France Television headquarters were besieged by protestors, protesting unfavourable reportage. Reporters from CNEWS and France Bleu Gironde were forcibly expelled by some protestors in Bordeaux. BFM, a 24-hour news channel journalists were also accused by protestors as collaborator journalists and the news dubbed as fake news. Printing press entrance of the Sipa Ouest-France, Press Ocean and Courrier de l’Ouest was blocked, preventing distribution of 180 000 by protestors.
Photojournalists found themselves at their tether’s end as they were verbally and physically targeted. Some found their equipment seized.
Normandy police stopped filming of the police operation and the arrests by forcing reporters to delete footage and seized the equipment. 76actu reporter, Simon Louvet, while reporting a heavy-handed arrest was struck by a police baton and as an official aimed his flashball gun at him. Most police stations didn’t comply with registering journalists’ complaint against the law authorities.
- Turkish journalist Pelin Unker has been sentenced to 13 months imprisonment and fined US$ 1, 615 for defamation and insult. Her verdict followed her reporting of undisputed facts via Paradise Papers Paradise Papers is a special investigation by Guardian and 95 international media partners revealing the secrets of the world elite’s hidden wealth.
Unker had reported the investigation in 2017 in Turkish daily Cumhuriyet about the then Turkish PM Binali Yildram and his two sons’ owned companies in Malta that had indirectly won a $7 million tender from the Turkish government.
Unker is the only journalist facing legal penalties for the investigation though the ex-PM has not denied the existence of the companies in question.
- Reuters reporters’ Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s seven-year sentence was upheld by a court in Myanmar. The reporters, uncovering the mass killings of Rohingya men in Rakhine State, were convicted under the official Secrets Acts.